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Tuesday in Holy Week–April 7, 2009

  • Posted on Apr 6, 2009

Receiving the wisdom

Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. John 12: 35-37

These words of Jesus from the Gospel of John appointed for today remind us that wisdom is often ignored. As children and grandchildren, we don’t often don’t realize the great worth of parental advice until our parents have died and we are parents ourselves. Then we have to remember that our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, will do the same. Like Jesus, our words fall on empty ears. Some day, the words will be useful.

When I was standing in the locker room of the gym on the morning of September 11, 2001 and the television began to broadcast the horrible events of that day, I immediately thought of my father. What would he have said to me? What words of wisdom from him would help me find hope? A man that had lived through the Great Depression and World War II–it wasn’t until he died and I was an adult with children of my own that I wished I had time to ask him questions I wasn’t ready to ask when he was alive. I was ready for the wisdom. A new wave of grief came over me that day.

It is a learning that we all must come to as children and adults. I realize that my children may not be ready to listen to what I have to tell them. One day, my wisdom born of experience may be remembered. In the days after Jesus’ death, in the years to come, the disciples and the early church yearned to remember the wisdom of the man they called their Lord. After the resurrection, they were ready to hear and receive God’s Word. That’s how our New Testament came to be. It is a way of remembering the actions and words of Jesus. It is also remembering that the disciples couldn’t hear God’s wisdom when Jesus was with them in the flesh.

I believe Jesus suffered in his inability to show his disciples what he meant. To get them to understand while he was with them. We all suffer when someone we love is unable to understand what we are trying to tell them when we have lived long enough to have wisdom born of suffering. We hope we can spare those we love–whether our children, a dear friend, a young colleague. Often, it is ignored. Sometimes, it backfires. We go and hide. We realize that we have done all we can. We hope and pray that time redeem it all.

In the end, Jesus knew this. In the end, the disciples learned this. Wisdom takes time.

Where has your wisdom been ignored or challenged? In time, has the wisdom been received?